Category Archives: About FOIA

New Year’s Message from the FOIA Ombudsman

“Change” was 2015’s word of the year for the FOIA Ombudsman. In a year of great change for OGIS, I may have been the most obvious one: I took over as the office’s second Director in August 2015. When I … Continue reading

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The Appeal of the Appeal Letter

While the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires agencies to notify requesters of the legal reasoning for upholding either all or part of an initial denial, the statute gives agencies very little—well, actually, no—additional guidance about what should be in … Continue reading

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Smart Solutions to FOIA Problems

We have learned through both our mediation services and agency assessment programs that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to administering a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) program. Agencies process different kinds of requests for vastly different records, and each agency … Continue reading

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Compliance Review of Coast Guard FOIA Program Now Available

Our assessment of the FOIA program at the United States Coast Guard is now available. The Coast Guard’s FOIA process is decentralized, meaning that requests received in the nine districts and more than 1,200 units are processed by those districts … Continue reading

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FOIA Gets an Online Makeover for its 49th Birthday!

Just days after FOIA celebrated its 49th birthday on July 4, the Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy (OIP) announced a pilot project aimed at improving government transparency by making almost all records released under the Freedom of Information Act … Continue reading

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Where Can I Get Basic FOIA Facts?

A little over a month ago, 18F—the digital services shop at the General Services Administration that’s modeled after tech-sector start-ups—released openFOIA. This website gives requesters a central location to learn how to make Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, FOIAOnline, Open Government | 3 Comments

FOIA Advisory Committee Surveys: Examining the FOIA Landscape

As we’ve previously mentioned, two subcommittees of the FOIA Advisory Committee — Oversight and Accountability, and Fees — have developed surveys to learn more about the areas they are examining. These surveys were recently sent to FOIA Public Liaisons (FPLs) … Continue reading

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What the Government’s Alphabet Soup Means for You

There are few things in the federal government that do not go by a three letter acronym—or, in government-speak, a TLA. As we at OGIS (that’s the Office of Government Information Services!)  are keenly aware, though, government acronyms are not … Continue reading

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Let’s Talk About Estimated Dates of Completion

In 2007 Congress added a provision into the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that requires agencies to provide a requester with an estimated date by which the agency expects to  complete work on a request, when the requester asks for … Continue reading

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Mark Your Calendars: DHS Requester Roundtable Scheduled for March 25

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced that on Wednesday, March 25 from 2 to 3:00 pm (Eastern), DHS Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) staff will hold a Requester Roundtable teleconference. This is a fantastic opportunity for members of … Continue reading

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